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Making Healthy Living Choices in the Colder Months

The Farmers’ Almanac long-range forecast says that the Prairies are in for a potentially cold winter living here in Calgary, and we know for local Calgary families, that can make trips and outings more of an obstacle than an adventure. This means that making choices to promote healthy living in Calgary becomes more vital as the weather continues to prove more challenging to do so. 

The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) promotes healthy living choices in our schools as proper nutrition is vital for growth, development, learning, and activity in our students. Children spend a large part of their day at school where they’re exposed to a variety of influences when it comes to food choices. These choices are defined as foods that are low in added fat, sugar, salt and/or caffeine, and higher in vitamins, minerals and/or fibre, and fall within at least one of the four food groups as outlined in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.

To support healthy living choices at home, pack nutritious, hearty lunches and snacks to help your child avoid trips to the vending machine during school hours. Making homemade soups and stews to send in your child’s lunch bag are excellent ways of ‘hiding’ vegetables for picky eaters, and soups and stews also provide a nice warm meal on those bitterly cold days. Sending your children to school with reusable water bottles is also an easy
and effective way to keep kids hydrated throughout the school day. Every system in our body depends on water and for kids, having a refillable water bottle on hand will help remind them to continue drinking water during their classes.

The Calgary Catholic School District also promotes active living for students, which means moving, getting outdoors, and exploring in
order to reduce sedentary behavior whenever possible. Increased sedentary behavior (activities that take little
to no physical effort) is becoming a real health concern in our digitally-driven world. For students, sedentary behavior can include: the bus commute to school, sitting at desks for long periods of time while in class, watching TV and playing video games, or little motion while using hand-held devices. That is a lot of sitting! The problem with too much sedentary behavior is that over time, it can affect overall health in a negative way.

Some healthy activities that you and your child can do together to reduce sedentary behavior in the winter months include taking short, active breaks indoors. When studying, reading, or watching TV, encourage your child to take breaks every hour for a quick walk around the house. Or better yet, take a walk around the block if the temperature permits. Encourage outdoor play whenever possible (while exercising caution with winter temperatures). Outdoor play helps build healthy bodies and healthy minds.

Healthy living and interacting with nature and other children while playing outdoors:

  • fuels curiosity and creativity


  • improves mental health and well-being

  • builds observation, problem-solving, and social skills


  • provides an opportunity to ‘unplug’ from technology


  • boosts confidence and self-esteem

Here are some tips to encourage outdoor play while living in the colder months:

  • Keep it simple and fun. Going for a walk, building a snowman, or making snow angels are all simple yet fun things to do outdoors.

  • Keep it local on cold days. Utilize parks and green spaces in your Calgary community where you can play in the snow.

  • Do it together. Invite family and friends to get everyone involved and outdoors.

  • Set clear boundaries and allow your children to play freely and safely within your rules and guidelines.

By starting good habits now and maintaining good habits throughout the Calgary winter months, your child can learn and grow making healthy living choices, both with you and independently through their school years and into adulthood.

To learn more about the Calgary Catholic School District, visit cssd.ab.ca.

 

 

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2017 Calgary’s Child